Retaining its position for the fifth consecutive year, South Korea is the most innovative country in the world, according to a recent league table published by Bloomberg. The Asian country took the top spot in the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index, which used seven criteria to compile the list, including research and development spending and concentration of high-tech companies.
South Korea’s ranking is credited to its most valuable company, Samsung. Sweden also kept last year’s position, coming in as the second most innovative country, while Singapore placed third. Five other European economies feature in the top 10, with Japan and Israel rounding up the top tier. The US dropped out of the 10 most innovative countries for the first time since the record was first compiled.
Emerging innovation economies
But it’s not just the usual suspects driving innovation. According to the findings of the Global Innovation Index 2017, a total of 17 economies comprise the so-called “innovation achievers”, i.e. middle and lower-income economies that are performing significantly better in innovation than their level of development would predict.
Among this group are nine economies from the Sub-Saharan Africa region, including Kenya and Rwanda, and three from Eastern Europe. India has been rising as an emerging innovation centre, while other Asian economies, including Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam, are actively working to improve their innovation ecosystems.
“Innovation is the engine of economic growth in an increasingly knowledge-based global economy, but more investment is needed to help boost human creativity and economic output,” says Francis Gurry, director general of WIPO, one of the organisation’s behind the report. “Innovation can help transform the current economic upswing into longer-term growth.”